Statement by Deputy Permanent Representative Anna Evstigneeva at UNSC briefing on the situation in Afghanistan
Availing of this opportunity, we would like to congratulate all women in this Chamber, as well as the women of Afghanistan on the International Women’s Day.
We thank Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNAMA, Ms. Roza Otunbaeva for the assessments of the situation in the country that she shared in her briefing. Russia supports the activities that UNAMA undertakes under your lead in the framework of the Mission’s mandated tasks. It is positive that the United Nations is committed to maintaining its presence and rendering the required assistance to the people of Afghanistan. We are ready to keep engaging constructively with all UNSC members with a view to soonest renewal of UNAMA’s mandate.
We also followed closely the remarks by Ms. Zubaida Akbar. It is reassuring that representatives of the region have a say in this discussion.
We took note of Secretary-General’s report on the situation in Afghanistan and would like to make the following points.
Eighteen months ago the long 20 years of the war in Afghanistan terminated with the Taliban movement coming to power again and foreign troops fleeing hastily from the country. Afterwards, new challenges added to the long-standing problems that the corrupt regime of A.Ghani had not been capable of solving for years. Instead of the promised much-anticipated peace, the Afghan people got sanctions, a humanitarian and economic crisis of unprecedented scale, ISIL, and weapons that American troops left behind to sheer joy of the terrorists. In their usual fashion, our American colleagues (with support of their NATO allies) hurried to allocate the responsibility for the ruining of the country and the effects of their ignominious military campaign to the de facto authorities in Afghanistan. They continue to do so now while blackmailing the population with humanitarian aid and manipulating with assistance on various far-fetched pretexts. Under this mask of a good-doer and a pioneer of women’s and girls’ rights, Washington conceals its true face. Threats of sanctions are used to erase numerous war crimes by US and NATO troops from the pages of history, as if they never happened. And true reasons for such a long stay of the United States in Afghanistan are being silenced down. To say nothing of the stolen Afghan assets that now may be used for other purposes in other conflict spots.
Against this backdrop, high-sounding rhetoric of our Western colleagues about the deteriorating situation in the country and sufferings of the Afghans, as well as calls to utilize the “sanctions baton” and enhance political and economic pressure on de facto authorities appears utterly immoral. They lack courage to admit that their favorite methods are not effective. Consequences of such steps will burden the ordinary Afghans, but will not change the situation on the ground. This approach does not surprise us though. In Kabul they also seem to realize this, because they are searching for an own path of independent development for Afghanistan without regard to Western assistance.
We share SG’s assessments as to the complex domestic situation in Afghanistan. We are particularly concerned over the security risks that are posed by terrorist activity of ISIL-Khorasan. We see that over 20 years, terrorists have strengthened their influence in the country and now they are deliberately shattering the situation by committing further attacks and spreading the feeling of fear and desperation throughout Afghanistan. They victimize representatives of religious and ethnic minorities, including women and children. Safety and security of UNAMA’s staff and humanitarians on the ground may also be at risk. Unfortunately, efforts that de facto authorities in this area are not enough.
Related to terrorism is the drug problem. Apparently, amidst large-scale hunger and poverty, it will be very difficult for Afghanistan to overcome the challenges by itself without comprehensive international and regional assistance. Support for Afghan farmers is important today as never before.
We closely follow socio-economic developments in Afghanistan. We note the efforts by the UN and regional organizations to provide humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan. We specifically commend the devoted work of humanitarian agencies and personnel who are prepared to stay on the ground in any circumstances to help the Afghans. At the same time, we see that those steps are insufficient. Western donors continue to block UN efforts to expand assistance beyond basic needs, categorically reject the possibility of providing assistance for development, reconstructing schools and hospitals, building roads to connect provinces or cities with agricultural areas.
Lasting and sustainable peace for Afghanistan is not possible without a patient and pragmatic interaction with the new authorities on a wide range of pressing issues, including political inclusiveness, combating terrorist and drug threats, promotion of human rights, including of women and girls. Observance of this holistic approach will determine whether activities of UNAMA are going to be efficient.
Russia consistently stands for the development of cooperation with Afghanistan on the issues relating to a comprehensive settlement. Together with our regional partners, we are working on elaborating a common approach to the situation in the country. The Moscow format also serves this goal. Its most recent meeting took place on February 8 in Moscow.
We note the potential of the SCO-Afghanistan Contact Group. The CSTO and SCO coordinate positions on that matter on a regular basis.
We continue providing humanitarian assistance to the Afghan people, and also boosting cooperation at the socio-economic track.